Sheptastic 2015 GX460 Build

Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I've been putting this off since I'm still waiting on a bunch of parts to really get started on my build. Figured 3 months is too long to put off an introduction, though.

I got my 2015 Premium in January. I happened to find one local with 71k, sepia interior, heated/vented seats, and 3rd row climate control (for my spoiled dogs). It has a black exterior, not my first choice, but not a big deal either. I've been looking at the GX for a long time as a replacement for my 2005 Subaru Forster that clocked about 230k when it was finally retired. It served us well, but we needed an upgrade. We needed something that handled well on road (road trips on the highway), could get us to the mountains, and was capable off road. Rock crawling is not on my list, but getting out in the woods and to trailheads is. We're long-time backpackers and I've trained with our county's Search and Rescue team. We like getting out into the wilderness to play in the snow or camp for a long weekend, or week-long trip. Our dogs are getting older and miles of hiking are no longer an option for them. I'm looking forward to doing some overlanding and finding remote spots to camp and day hike. I recently tried to describe overlanding to a friend whose family homesteaded in Oregon in the 1800's, and his reply was "so, you mean car camping". Yeah, guess I'm a motorized pioneer.

After purchase, I took the GX to our local Lexus dealer to get it checked over. I had an agreement with the dealer I purchased from (Mazda dealer w/ a sister Toyota dealership on the same lot) that if I found an issue over $500, they’d fix it or cancel the sale. Fluids and rear brakes were the only thing that needed attention. I had the oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transfer case, and front/rear diff fluid changed.

I’ve been focused on creature comforts:

Cell phone mount: Best phone mount and location GX 460 - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/best-phone-mount-and-location-gx-460.1273052/page-4#post-14283735

Interior light replacement: Used GX Dash Trim and Interior Light Replacement - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/used-gx-dash-trim-and-interior-light-replacement.1274480/

Fixing water leak from shark fin: Water in the Way Back - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/water-in-the-way-back.1281724/

Third row seat/seatbelt delete and soundproofing
PXL_20220319_003854903.jpg


I’ve added some MOLLE windows panels and a mesh attic from Bison Gear.
PXL_20220330_000929140.jpg


I have an Air Down Gear Up SS1 drawer system on order. Hope to get that soon. I was going to build my own, but their HDPE baseplate w/ printed mounts, etc. really fit the bill. For my use, it was worth it.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
Starting to make progress on other mods:

GX came with 4 newish (11-12/32”) Mazama Open Range A/Ts 265/60 R18 on OEM wheels. Seems like Mazama’s parent company also makes Falken, so I figured I’d keep them for now. They’ve been great in the snow so far. I went to Les Schwab to replace my spare tire with the same and added it to the tire rotation. It’ll be a while before I’m in the market for some 17” wheels and Wildpeaks.

I modded a SmittyBilt 2781 compressor and built a 4-tire air up/down hose system. Largely influenced by Jake’s videos: Ultimate Air System and Ultimate Air Manifold. I’m still waiting on my PowerTrays LoPro to finish the under-hood install.
PXL_20220326_031114458.jpg
PXL_20220407_001437007.jpg


I added Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Select from Sami’s (DIY Speed Garage) video: 460-Add Crawl Control (CC) and Multi Terrain Select (MTS) to 2010-2019 models/all trims - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/460-add-crawl-control-cc-and-multi-terrain-select-mts-to-2010-2019-models-all-trims.1040976/. They worked awesome in the snow in southern Oregon last month.
PXL_20220312_212841712.jpg


I replaced the foam SAIS filter with a UNI oiled filter from these videos: Lexus Gx Secondary Air Injection Pump Mod - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bWxlxeA5-A&t=1s and Mandatory Mod For GX460's - Unimod Air Filter- Cheap and Easy! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbyZjWP708&t=2s. FYI, the K&N that GX Bob linked to doesn’t fit. Found the Uni on eBay.
PXL_20220421_190250046.jpg
PXL_20220421_190833138.jpg


RCI aluminum fuel skid arrived today. In looking at skids it seems like the front skid and fuel tank take the most abuse. Again, no rock crawling. This is for incidental hits. Since the factory fuel skid is not full length, that’s where I went first. RCI had 15% off, so I went ahead with this. I’m aware of the aluminum vs. steel debates. I took the chance on aluminum for incidental use and weight savings. When I beat up my factory front skid, I plan to replace that with steel (Bud Built/RCI?).

A front bumper chop and running board removal are in the works. At some point a CBI (or Victory Blitz) bumper and rock sliders (CBI, RCI, RSG, Slee, SSO?) will happen.

And…listed out of order, suspension is in the works. Bilstein 5100, w/OME springs, straight-up OME, dobinsons? We’ll figure that out.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
Wow. Any advice on managing the automatic conversion of URLs to ginormous media links? I don't always need YouTube links to take up 50% of the post.
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2020
Messages
194
Location
NC
I enjoyed reading your journey of upgrades! I purchased a '15 with similar miles at the end of 2020 and have done some similar mods. Looking forward to seeing your rig evolve.

To minimize media links, try embedding in text like you did above with the MTS and CC links above.
 

r2m

Richard
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,949
Location
San Clemente, CA
I see you have the rear quarter MOLLE panels. Personally, I love them!
Also see you have a net stretched across them. I went and purchased the top rear shelf also. Universal Upper Shelf - Victory 4x4 - https://www.victory4x4.com/product/UNI-UPRS.html
That thing is amazing! It's supper strong and doesn't impede rear view at all, and I'm pretty tall in the seat.
You can see it on my rig here, starting at post #210: Builds - R2M 2013 GX460 Overland Build - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/r2m-2013-gx460-overland-build.1104719/page-11#post-14050919
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I see you have the rear quarter MOLLE panels. Personally, I love them!
Also see you have a net stretched across them. I went and purchased the top rear shelf also. Universal Upper Shelf - Victory 4x4 - https://www.victory4x4.com/product/UNI-UPRS.html
That thing is amazing! It's supper strong and doesn't impede rear view at all, and I'm pretty tall in the seat.
You can see it on my rig here, starting at post #210: Builds - R2M 2013 GX460 Overland Build - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/r2m-2013-gx460-overland-build.1104719/page-11#post-14050919
Your build is what inspired those. I went with the mesh over the metal shelf as it was much cheaper and it wasn't a fixed height. It better met my needs of storing soft stuff - towels, jackets, etc. I can see how a metal shelf would be good in other situations. I got that and the panels from Bison Gear. The panels are smaller and cheaper than other options. I like that they are essentially the size of the window. The bottom of the panels attach to the plastic trim with L brackets. That's not ideal, but I did replace the screws with through bolts and fender washers while they were out for my water leak. They seem pretty strong. I'm going to keep an eye on them to see if they're affected by vibration (stressing the plastic).
 
  • Like
Reactions: r2m
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I enjoyed reading your journey of upgrades! I purchased a '15 with similar miles at the end of 2020 and have done some similar mods. Looking forward to seeing your rig evolve.

To minimize media links, try embedding in text like you did above with the MTS and CC links above.
I couldn't find out how to copy and paste those link formats consistently. However, I did figure out that if I insert a hyperlink and change the text, it would just display that text rather than converting it to a media element.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I got the interior back together and it's the first time the I've had the inner garnish trim/3rd row seatbelt covers installed. I like it. Glad I took the seatbelts out and got those covers. Now I just wait for my drawers - another 2+ weeks.

PXL_20220429_213719914.jpg
PXL_20220429_213729835.jpg


I was on a roll, so I figured I'd install the RCI fuel tank skid too. The front passenger bolt, behind the driveshaft, was particularly painful. Took me longer than I planned to turn a handful of bolts, but that's done now too. The OEM skid is puny in comparison. Drawers are the same weight as the 3rd row, so with the aluminum fuel tank skid and MOLLE panels, I'm about 30 lbs heavier so far. I found these videos pretty helpful:
NVSTRZ34 - RCI Fuel Tank Skid Plate Install || GX460 | GX470 | 4Runner ||
SnailTrail4x4 - Upgrading Gas Tank Skid with RCI Off-road Skid Plate | 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I finally received my PowerTrays LoPro and got my "OEM" air compressor installed.
PXL_20220526_233551746.jpg


The SmittyBilt 2781 compressor was too long for the tray, so i added some lengths of 1 1/2" x 1/16" (ish) aluminum bar and mounted the compressor's hardware to that. There's a stainless tee on the output where I added a 90/120 pressure switch. I'm currently using the stock battery clamps until I address some power distribution.
PXL_20220526_233614631.jpg
PXL_20220526_233646436.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: r2m
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I got my Air Down Gear Up SS1 drawers and slide-out table installed, which is going to be a jumping off point for a lot of functionality. I'll be setting up my kitchen back there soon. In addition to the posts on AirDownGearUp SS1: Storage, Sleeper and Drawer System for GX460 - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/airdowngearup-ss1-storage-sleeper-and-drawer-system-for-gx460.1265167/, I figured I'd show some of the installation here.

Lots of parts, and not all of them are mentioned in the instructions. Luckily ADGU was really responsive to calls and emails to complete the install.
PXL_20220601_230503868.jpg


Here's the HDPE baseplate installed with aluminum braces and angle brackets for the extruded aluminum frame (80/20). I started locating spots with blue tape that contacted the floor or were close enough that I thought they might bounce against some part of the GX. ADGU provided some foam/rubber tape to help prevent rubbing. I'm not sure it's required to make it silent, but I had the opportunity to add it at this point.
PXL_20220603_194755364.jpg


Here I was figuring out the washer configuration for the extruded aluminum frame. There are much easier ways to put all this together than the way I did it. One step to "Install uprights and install bottom rails (runners)", using about 50 parts, required a bit of interpretation.
PXL_20220603_201153517.jpg


Drawer slides going on using their tool for spacing the nut inserts. It worked really well and I was happy it was included in the kit.
PXL_20220604_012952231.jpg


Here they are installed, nearly level with the 2nd row. It's nice to have a big, flat cargo area.
PXL_20220604_234543994.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
I got out to the Metolius River a week or so ago to scout for some dispersed camping. While I didn't find what I was looking for (a spot near the river with a spot to park), it was a fun day and it gave us an opportunity to check for rattles and test the tire air down/up system.
PXL_20220611_211546149.jpg

PXL_20220611_211957190.jpg

PXL_20220611_224448997.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2019
Messages
410
Location
Oregon
Just returned from the Metolius yesterday.
Certainly beautiful…
 

r2m

Richard
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,949
Location
San Clemente, CA

r2m

Richard
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,949
Location
San Clemente, CA
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
Looks really nice! Are you using a little foam padding in your little cubbies to keep the rattling down?
Haven't needed to yet. The pot/stove are just snug, and the 1l pot is wrapped in neoprene. I have some felt and huck towels laying around when I determine I need them.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
We had a great weekend approximating a portion of the Oregon Back County Discovery Route 3 through the Deschutes National Forest. Had a good shakedown of everything in its current state. Air down/up is super fast and having my hoses at the front of my drawers makes it easy to grab and set up. The drawers are working out well. Even with many things just thrown in there, I only hear occasional noise when hitting significant bumps and metal water bottles/cans are noisier elsewhere in the vehicle. I added some eye bolts and a lock to the back of the drawers to keep them from being opened unless I'm using them. Figured it was more confusing to others if the lock wasn't visible from where the drawers open. I also got some shorter Slide Out Table rails from ADGU. The ones it came with extended past the back of the drawer box impacting the storage area b/t the drawers and the 2nd row seats. They sent me a shorter set to address that, but I haven't swapped them yet. Being as open as they are, I'm surprised they're not getting that dirty inside. I plan to address that at some point. The plywood tops I have on the kitchen drawer should help considerably.

The road quality was all over the place - nice, groomed gravel in places and rocky/rutted in others with downed trees. Occasionally they were too large to move, blocking the road. Even with a chainsaw, it would have been too much effort to deal with them.

Ended up with some great views and campsites.
PXL_20220723_165829719 NoLP.jpg
PXL_20220723_014417880 NoLP.jpg
PXL_20220723_041352356.NIGHT NAPA NoLP.jpg
 

r2m

Richard
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,949
Location
San Clemente, CA
We had a great weekend approximating a portion of the Oregon Back County Discovery Route 3 through the Deschutes National Forest. Had a good shakedown of everything in its current state. Air down/up is super fast and having my hoses at the front of my drawers makes it easy to grab and set up. The drawers are working out well. Even with many things just thrown in there, I only hear occasional noise when hitting significant bumps and metal water bottles/cans are noisier elsewhere in the vehicle. I added some eye bolts and a lock to the back of the drawers to keep them from being opened unless I'm using them. Figured it was more confusing to others if the lock wasn't visible from where the drawers open. I also got some shorter Slide Out Table rails from ADGU. The ones it came with extended past the back of the drawer box impacting the storage area b/t the drawers and the 2nd row seats. They sent me a shorter set to address that, but I haven't swapped them yet. Being as open as they are, I'm surprised they're not getting that dirty inside. I plan to address that at some point. The plywood tops I have on the kitchen drawer should help considerably.

The road quality was all over the place - nice, groomed gravel in places and rocky/rutted in others with downed trees. Occasionally they were too large to move, blocking the road. Even with a chainsaw, it would have been too much effort to deal with them.

Ended up with some great views and campsites.
View attachment 3069179View attachment 3069180View attachment 3069181
Those mountains in the background look awesome!
Good times!
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
Those mountains in the background look awesome!
Good times!
The views in some places were indescribable. Many will only be there until the trees regrow from all the fires. Much better outing than two week ago where we didn't find a single good site and I bailed, only to get home at 1am. Still a bit of trial and error. Can't complain about spending 14 hours in the GX though!
 
  • Like
Reactions: r2m
Joined
Jan 17, 2022
Messages
102
Location
Oregon
It didn't take long to realize that the single, ignition-switched 12v outlet in the GX is worthless. I may end up with 7 total and just got my system set up in the way back. "All" I have to do is run a wire from the battery and install my circuit breaker under the hood. Blue Sea's Accessory Panel is super clean, but was really expensive ($80+ a couple months ago), and I prefer 12v outlets where I can upgrade USB chargers at will. Just plug a new one in when specs change. Similarly, ADGU's implementation was also super clean, but took up some usable space and uses the Blue Sea Accessory Panel. AirDownGearUp SS1: Storage, Sleeper and Drawer System for GX460 - https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/airdowngearup-ss1-storage-sleeper-and-drawer-system-for-gx460.1265167/post-14566483

I took a different approach, and I'm happy with the result. YMMV. Instead of space-efficient, easy-to-read, digital volt meters, I went with a big, honkin' analog gauge and a correspondingly oversized switch. My GX has always reminded me of Marty McFly's Taco from Back to the Future, so I'm doing this in lieu of a flux capacitator...for now. I know his Taco didn't time travel, but there's still hope for the GX. The big advantages for me are - I have all kinds of power and options for the future, a big storage area next to the drawers to charge items or store electronics, and everything is normally covered up. The wing on the drawer covers the outlets and storage area. Looking through the window, you'd never know it's there even if I have things plugged in. The panel is friction fit and there's just one hole in that compartment to get wires into the void. This is a game changer for charging devices and airing up the SUPs.

PXL_20220901_191309843.jpg

PXL_20220901_192242266.jpg

PXL_20220901_191908972.jpg
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom